Catalepsy is a nervous condition characterized by muscular rigidity and fixity of posture regardless of external stimuli, as well as decreased sensitivity to pain. [1]

Catalepsy is also a term used by hypnotists to refer to the state of making a hypnotised subject’s arm, leg or back rigid. “Arm catalepsy” is often a pre-hypnotic test performed prior to an induction into a full trance.

Causes of Catalepsy

Professionals once believed that only people who had been damned by God could get this disorder and that this disorder was the result of (controllable) mental states that had no basis in physiology. However, researchers now know that catalepsy does not appear on its own; instead, it is a symptom of certain nervous disorders or conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

Catalepsy is also a characteristic symptom of cocaine withdrawal.

It can be caused by schizophrenia treatment with anti-psychotics,[2] such as haloperidol.[3]

In some cases, isolated cataleptic instances can also be precipitated by extreme emotional shock.

Protein kinase A has been suggested as a mediator of cataleptic behavior.[4]

Symptoms of Catalepsy

Symptoms include: rigid body, rigid limbs, limbs staying in same position when moved (waxy flexibility), no response, loss of muscle control, and slowing down of bodily functions, such as breathing.[5]

Literary depictions

In Alexandre Dumas, père’s novel The Count of Monte Cristo, the Abbé Faria suffered from fits of catalepsy from time to time.

In George Eliot’s Silas Marner, the main character Silas Marner frequently suffers from cataleptic fits and seizures. It is not mentioned if they are caused by any of the aforementioned factors.

In Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Resident Patient,” a doctor attempts to treat catalepsy with amyl nitrite.

In Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier, the protagonist Dowell suffers from catalepsy following the death of his wife.

In Robert A. Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” the main character Valentine Michael Smith is believed to have catalepsy when he is returned to Earth.

In Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Premature Burial,” the narrator suffers from catalepsy. He fears being mistakenly declared dead and buried alive, and goes to great lengths to prevent this. In another of Poe’s short stories, “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Madeline Usher suffers from catalepsy, and is buried alive by her unstable brother Roderick.

In Émile Zola’s short story La Mort d’Olivier Becaille (The Death of Olivier Becaille), the title character is buried alive and notes that “I must have fallen into one of those cataleptic states that I had read of”.

In Film and Television

In Sam Taylor’s Kiki (film) (1931) Mary Pickford feigns a case of catalepsy to keep from being removed from the apartment of the man she secretly loves.

In the soap opera La Traición, the main character, Hugo De Medina, suffers from catalepsy. Later in the telenovela it is revealed that his daughter, Aurora, suffers from the same illness.

In Chavo del Ocho, the main character, El Chavo, would have cataleptic-like fits if frightened, where he would curl as if sitting down in a chair and become stiff. However, he could be healed by being splashed with water.

Homeopathy Treatment for Catalepsy

Keywords: homeopathy, homeopathic, treatment, cure, remedy, remedies, medicine

Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution, family history, presenting symptoms, underlying pathology, possible causative factors etc. A miasmatic tendency (predisposition/susceptibility) is also often taken into account for the treatment of chronic conditions. A homeopathy doctor tries to treat more than just the presenting symptoms. The focus is usually on what caused the disease condition? Why ‘this patient’ is sick ‘this way’. The disease diagnosis is important but in homeopathy, the cause of disease is not just probed to the level of bacteria and viruses. Other factors like mental, emotional and physical stress that could predispose a person to illness are also looked for. No a days, even modern medicine also considers a large number of diseases as psychosomatic. The correct homeopathy remedy tries to correct this disease predisposition. The focus is not on curing the disease but to cure the person who is sick, to restore the health. If a disease pathology is not very advanced, homeopathy remedies do give a hope for cure but even in incurable cases, the quality of life can be greatly improved with homeopathic medicines.

The homeopathic remedies (medicines) given below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete and definite guide to the homeopathy treatment of this condition. The symptoms listed against each homeopathic remedy may not be directly related to this disease because in homeopathy general symptoms and constitutional indications are also taken into account for selecting a remedy. To study any of the following remedies in more detail, please visit the Materia Medica section at Hpathy.

None of these medicines should be taken without professional advice and guidance.

Homeopathy Remedies for Catalepsy :

Acon., agar., aran., art-v., bell., cann-i., cham., chlol., cic., cocc., coff., con., cur., ferr., gels., graph., hyos., ign., ip., lach., nat-m., nux-m., op., petr., ph-ac., plat., staph., stram., sulph., thuj., vat.


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  2. ^ Rasmussen K, Hsu MA, Noone S, Johnson BG, Thompson LK, Hemrick-Luecke SK (November 2007). “The orexin-1 antagonist SB-334867 blocks antipsychotic treatment emergent catalepsy: implications for the treatment of extrapyramidal symptoms”. Schizophr Bull 33 (6): 1291–7. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbm087. PMID 17660489.
  3. ^ Hattori K, Uchino S, Isosaka T, et al (March 2006). “Fyn is required for haloperidol-induced catalepsy in mice”. J. Biol. Chem. 281 (11): 7129–35. doi:10.1074/jbc.M511608200. PMID 16407246.
  4. ^ Adams MR, Brandon EP, Chartoff EH, Idzerda RL, Dorsa DM, McKnight GS (October 1997). “Loss of haloperidol induced gene expression and catalepsy in protein kinase A-deficient mice”. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 94 (22): 12157–61. PMID 9342379. PMC: 23735.
  5. ^ Sanberg PR, Bunsey MD, Giordano M, Norman AB. (1998). The catalepsy test: its ups and downs. [Abstract] Retrieved August 22, 2006